Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I loved candy.
One of the coolest stores I recall from my teenage years was around the block from my house and was called the The Kandy Kid. I visited that store (probably) more than I should and I certainly had the cavities to show for it. It was the neighborhood hangout because they had all types of candy you could purchase for a penny and also had an array of arcade games.
One of my favorite candies was the Tootsie Pop ®. I would buy handfuls to last the entire day when playing marathon rounds of Galaga, PacMan, or Street Fighter with my friends. I saved all the wrappers just to collect the different scenes on them (I secretly hoped I would get the special one with Indian and the star so I could get a free Tootsie Pop).
Of course, whether or not you had the Indian with star the question on everyone’s mind was simple: How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop®?
Everyone had a guess back then and there was no exact magical number. Back then guessing how many licks it would take was about as challenging as answering how many users I could get on a WinFrame/MetaFrame server and everyone had answers on what it was. With today’s technology scientists and students have also found ways to automate Tootsie Pop® licking which produces less licks in some tests resulting in some interesting answers.
With all this talk about candy and automation, and with an ever-growing sweet tooth, a few ideas came to mind that the teams at Dell and Citrix reviewed.
Could we provide a single platform and automate a variety of the XenDesktop tasks like the XenDesktop DSC Brian Ehlert wrote about while providing a simple GUI as well?
This piqued the interest of a few people at Dell and Citrix and the task to simplify the solution was born.
Why do an experiment like this one? Simplicity. We wanted to engineer a new solution so simple that anyone from a small business and up could deploy a XenDesktop or XenApp infrastructure–along with desktops or apps–with the least amount of effort needed!
Verticals like education or small hospitals looking for an all-in-one solution can now leverage the new Dell Appliance for Wyse and Citrix. The new solutions is based on either the Dell R730 or the Dell T630 server and is running Windows 2012R2 with Hyper-V.
Each of the server specs are predesigned, tested and validated for either Citrix XenDesktop or XenApp workloads.
Either server comes preconfigured from the factory running HyperV and is setup with an OOBE state and is ready to join a company’s domain. Once the server is powered on, the administrator can start the process of joining the host to the company’s domain to continue the setup.
Like the Tootsie Pop®, we wanted to have a nice GUI wrapper around the PowerShell scripts and thus the new Dell Quick Start (QST) Tool for Dell Appliance for Wyse and Citrix automation tool provides that simple way to make this entire solution automated. QST is a single tool that brings the simplicity of deploying the infrastructure such as SQL, SCVMM, and the XenDesktop controller to a whole new level. What’s great about the QST is that as the infrastructure is being built the desktop and apps templates can be created in parallel thus saving time, so there is minimal waiting.
Each appliance comes from the factory preconfigured containing the following components listed below:
- C:\Dell_OEM\Wyse\DeploymentTool – Workflowconfig.xml – defines which type of Appliance you have for QST.
- C:\Dell_OEM\Wyse\Xen – XenDesktop 7.6 installer ISO file
- C:\Dell_OEM\Wyse\SQL – SQL Express 2014 or SQL Server Standard 2014 ISO files.
- C:\Dell_OEM\VM – VHDX file image of Windows Server 2012 R2 used for Management and XenApp VMs
The QST uses these installation files and a workflow to automate the entire Citrix infrastructure stack needed and also to create the XenApp machines using Citrix’s Machines Creation Services or MCS. For XenDesktop the QST simply needs the Windows 8.1 ISO file and it does all the rest.
With a basic understanding of this new solution in mind, let’s take a look at this video to understand the new appliance architecture and how many steps we think it takes to deploy XenDesktop on the new Dell Appliance for Wyse and Citrix.
Enjoy (and feel to grab some candy while you’re watching the video)!